Surf 101: Costa Rica

My first surf lesson-age 33. I opted for a private lesson taught by none other then a local favourite. A dreamy surf instructor, sun kissed skin, originally from California, the quintessential iconic image we see in the movies...only in our dreams. He helped me choose the right spot for my first surf experience...few crowds, easy enough breaks up to 2 feet high, a black sandy beach vastly stretching across Playa Negra in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.

Once I had tumbled a few times ( ok, more than a few times), I finally got on my board and after a few hours, I was upright standing. Although those moments only lasted seconds, I knew it was the first of many. I said goodbye to Mr. Dreamy, and he wished me well. That was the last I saw of him. Everyone in town raved how lucky I was to have him as my first instructor. As a virgin surfer, I'm glad he was my first.

An eventful week transpired full of more surfing, tacos and yoga at Peace Retreat, where I had stayed. That same week I met a 36 year old reclusive pro-surfer who had been residing in Costa Rica for over a decade. He lived in what resembled a treehouse home in the middle of nowhere spending his days surfing. I knew little about him other than he grew up in the elite hills of Malibu, California. A sweet and laid back soul, everything you imagined a perennial surfer to be, he embodied the complete surfer lifestyle. Something I will keep tucked away in my dreams. This temporary escape in Guanacaste was enough to set me sailing for the next few years. I spent the week doing yoga, watching surfers and slowly getting on my board a few more times. I surfed in the town of Tamarindo, but the area near Peace Retreat was and still is one of the best areas I could have chosen to learn how to surf.

I continue to return to Costa Rica for smooth surfing along their perfect waves. I didn't grow up near water or surf so every time I get back on a board it is like I'm learning all over again. What does exist inside of me however, is the courage to keep on trying even as I reach my fortieth birthday.

A Poem for Costa Rica

A rich coast.

Iguanas, howler monkeys draping from their trees,

a country with so much to boast.

Surfers abound.

Their strong bodies, fearless spirits gliding along,

against the crashing sound.

Oh bright sun smiling down at me.

Hot sand supporting my feet.

This earth, I've travelled time and time again, so far to see,

bountiful and beautiful people to meet.

By Adelina Fabiano